PBA: Lassiter dedicates comeback game to his late grandmother
MANILA, Philippines - Drawing from his loss, guard Marcio Lassiter of the Petron Blaze Boosters was able to turn the bad into good as he played an inspired game en route to 101-88 win over Barako Bull Energy in their first quarterfinal clash.
Lassiter, who had just lost his grandmother earlier this month, says he dedicated his impressive 17-point game to her. And although it was difficult to condition his mind to play and contribute significantly to his team, he found strength in knowing that his grandmother was with him on the court tonight.
"I have my other motivations but obviously the biggest one was my lola who passed away," Lassiter bared. "I'm glad. It felt like she was right there with me the whole time."
Lassiter's grandmother died at 92 years old on January 5. She was supposed to turn 93 the following day.
"As a player, for me, I don't wanna think about it [the tragedy]. It's obviously gonna be there and I don't wanna make that as an excuse," Lassiter explained. "Mentally I just try to do everything right and it's hard but I just feel that if you could be out there on the court, you can play. That was my mindset, just give it my all."
Lassiter spent 4 days in San Francisco to pay his final respects and make his peace with his grandmother. He had only just arrived from San Francisco at 6AM on game day Tuesday, January 21.
Overcoming jet lag and exhaustion from a long 17-hour travel, Lassiter, 26, scorched hot from three-point land and torched Barako Bull with 3 triples, two-of-3 field goals and 4-of-4 free throws for a solid contribution of 17 points. He also had two rebounds, an assist and a steal.
He did all that with barely any sleep.
"I tried sleeping but I didn't sleep until late in the afternoon," Lassiter said.
With his productive outing, nobody would assume he was tired and jet lagged. But for Lassiter, there is no question that he felt everything. It was sheer will and power of the mind that carried him.
"I felt all of it. I just tried to play my game and tried to help the team any way I can. Sometimes you just gotta get what the defense gives and I made my shots today. It was falling. My jet lag shots."
The 6-foot-2 guard was extremely close to his maternal grandmother whom he says has had a hand in shaping the man he is today.
Hailing from Ilocos, Lassiter's grandmother took care of him when he was 8 years old and up until he was 18.
"She's pretty much like my mother. She meant a lot to me," he spoke of her gently. "She pretty much raised me. Just who I am and I'm honored and I wanna continue to make her proud and everyone else proud. Thats why I'm here."
Lassiter missed Petron's last game of the eliminations due to his trip. The team and coaching staff were understanding towards his loss.
Head coach Gee Abanilla says they are behind him every step of the way.
"We sympathize with him with the passing of his grandmother. He was emotional even before," Abanilla said. "Everybody understood that coming in. Hindi naman niya kagustuhan talaga mawala eh. (He didn't want to lose her.)" - Rappler.com